REPUBLIC CITY DISPATCH #33: The Terror WIthin
BE FOREWARNED - Discussion could include Avatar: The Last Airbender, Book One: Air and Book Two: Spirits from The Legend of Korra and could expand to include Dark Horse Comic’s The Promise and The Search at any time.
We have opened up the COMMENTS on all posts on RepublicCityDispatch.com for your cross-dialogue needs!
Constantine SDCC 2014 trailer. A bit of new footage overall functions a lot better than the initial pilot trailer.
Alan Sepinwall recently saw the revamped pilot that screened at SDCC you can read his impressions here.
Constantine premiers on NBC October 24.
Here’s an updated version of the Arrow season 3 trailer now with a very special dad in the picture.
Ra’s Al Ghul is coming to Star(ling) CITY.
They call it the “Movie Trailer”, I wouldn’t go that far. Still dominated by the murder of the Wayne’s this new look at Gotham shows some new footage of young Bruce Wayne and our first mention of Arkham.
It ends on a note that could raise the ire of fans, in the context of the trailer a pair of random people picking up a young Oswald Cobblepot(Robin Lord Taylor) and commenting on his walk as penguin-esque. It’s this kind of stuff that’ll get annoying if it becomes to on the nose and repetative. Hahaha Nygma speaks in Riddles, that Ivy girl loves plants and Selena Kyle sure loves cats. It’ll turn Gotham into a bad prequel that viewers will get the hints and take them out of the expereince.
I’m still entranced by the visuals of the show. Gotham premiers on FOX September 22.
The switch over to digital releases means we only got one episode of The Legend of Korra tonight… but what an episode! If auto-publishing magic is up to snuff, you should be able to find my review of “The Terror Within” over at Screencrush.
But what did you gals and guys think? Throw down your reactions/insight/theories in the comments or reblogs. We’ll be back with a new episode Sunday!
Lots of you have been asking what time new episodes will be added to nick.com moving forward! Remaining Book 3 episodes will be added to nick.com on Fridays at 12:00pm (noon) EST. We will update with the link for this Friday’s episode “The Stakeout” as soon as it’s live :)
“The Terror Within” torrential pacing and Scooby Doo hijinks continue the level of quality Book 3 has achieved. As with “In Harm’s Way”, the action heavy front half would make it easy to not really pick at things besides gushing (once again) over the quality of Studio Mir’s animation. Writing “The Terror Within” off as an action episode would, however, be disservice to the lots of little moments peppered in between the action.
Book 2 was plotted in such a way that plot points and the lore workings of these points were barely made clear episode to episode. It was opaque in the way Game of Thrones season 2 was this vast yet formless epic. It was only in totality that the form took shape and real appreciation could be had. Book 3 hasn’t stopped keeping secretes and lore from audiences or Team Avatar, we still know next to nothing about the Red Lotus (a name only figured out via HTML scraping and Episode Titles) motivations – only that it’s a lava bender, combustion bender (glad to finally have a name for that), Ming Hua, and led by Zaheer who spouts ancient Air Nomad mysticism in between lying and flying on his glider. The mystery of their motivation though isn’t nearly as annoying due to Book 3 tighter writing and use of 2 part episode arcs in the first half. Book 3 is able functioning as a television series, providing closed arcs by the end of an episode, making for an enjoyable viewing experience and allowing the Red Lotus’ phantom menace to be just that: a mysterious antagonistic force. For now that’s all the story of Book 3 requires and so that’s what they are.
And what an awesome force for action they have been. First with each team members individual prison breaks, and now with the first attack on Team Avatar and Zaofu. It’s gotta be the fact it took place in a dome. Surrounded by Suyin’s family, Team Avatar, and a smattering of not totally useless guards the action has a fair amount of dynamism for what boils down to something out of a cover based shooter. Not that cover dose anyone any good since P’Li can apparently bend her combustion(?) shots. After the floor turns to lava, Lin and Suyin decide to attack from above providing a small sequence reminiscent of the excellent attack on the Pro Bending Arena with high flying theatrics.
As awesome as the action was it would be weightless if it didn’t also highlight Bolin and end the arc from “Old Wounds” and transitioning to the next plot smoothly. Bolin was kind of lost in Book 2, sure he had his “Movers” plot but in comparison to everyone else it felt like an afterthought and dumbing down of the character. Bryke and Co. have firmly reestablished Bolin is the Bro of Bros via his budding relationship with Opal and now his attempts to learn metal bending. Exploring Bolin’s insecurities in this and previous episodes is incredibly natural for a character with such bravado and during the attack it’s up to him to take the shot. Getting Opal out of the picture for now is a good call, adorable as it was it got a little cloying towards the end. Sending the love birds out on a dual homage of classic romance: “We’ll always have Kale” referencing “We’ll always have Paris” and then Opal feeding him the wrap (off screen) which might actually be the most sub textually sexual moment in this series and reminiscent of Now Voyager’s end.
Betrayal is a hard thing to handle, it’s will always be taken it personally. Making Suyin’s actions in light of one of her people turning into a rat are to a degree understandable. It dosen’t make them any less ruthless. She throws the Fall Guy Guard up against the wall, ready to take some extra judicial punishment on him now, with nary a though towards procedure. The way she talks about making those who betrayed the Clan pay is also pause for concern. For all her talk about how the Earth Queen is an outmoded governmental construct she’s acting exactly like Hou-Ting. When combined with her actions at the end of the episode, letting Team Avatar escape the city and hunt Aiwei, it starts to seem like something is up with Suyin. It’s another link a long chain of characters using the Avatar to their own ends by flattery and agreeing with them. That said, Suyin could easily be another Asami, a character everyone thinks and expects to be evil but isn’t.
As fun as it was to see the story turn into an episode of Scooby Doo, Pabu gets to be rather anthropomorphic this episode, there is an on the nose quality to the dialog that kind of rubbed me the wrong way. Adding Varrick to the mix did add a reflexive quality and in an investigation what else would you really talk about. At the very least it reasserted that Detective Mako is the best Mako (and someone should really write Noir Mako fan fic). Maurice LaMarche delivery of “You have no idea what’s coming Avatar…” was appropriately freighting. We don’t know what’s coming but that hasn’t stopped Korra and Co. running head on into it.
This is of course the final episode that will be aired on Nickelodeon the channel. The remaining episodes will air on Nick.com, Amazon, Xbox, and others according to the statement on Korra Nation. It’s an abrupt but not unexpected change, Bryan Konietzko talked about it during the recent SDCC panel. The adverb “smooth” rings the most, it was a sudden change and not exactly a smooth one. It looked sudden and without coordination with Bryke, having creators post chibi art with text boasting that the show isn’t canceled! just looks slapdash. Nickelodeon for the most part has done a good job hooking into this fandom via the tumblr an social media but it also doesn’t really treat it like a proper television series with press releases and the like because as the creators said, this isn’t really Nickelodeon fair. Nickelodeon has been treating the same as its other shows and well their demo isn’t plugged into the internet quite like this. So why would they do anything differen?
Hopefully the move to digital is a good thing and it’s an excuse for Nickelodeon to experiment in that area or looking at licensing deas ala what CBS dose with Under the Dome and Extant with Amazon Prime. Korra would be perfect for Amazon Prime, a niche but large audience and content that can be listed under “kids” and normal stuff.
Arrow Season 3 sneak peak.
Hey Korra Nation! Phew. Some of you may have heard versions of this news elsewhere, but here’s the official word. After this Friday’s on-air premiere of Episode 8 “The Terror Within” at 8/7c, all remaining Book 3 episodes will move to a digital rollout. That means two things: 1) Korra is NOT…
First image of Roy Harper, played by Colton Haynes, as Arsenal. I guess they’re just skipping the Red Arrow name (though hopefully jokes are made).
All that is left is Roy gets his arm ripped off and replaced with a sweet robotic one, he becomes a drug addict, and has a child out of wedlock. Not necessarily in that order and I’d be totally ok about drop those last two if it mean sweat robotic arm.
REPUBLIC CITY DISPATCH #32: Old Wounds/Original Airbenders
BE FOREWARNED - Discussion includes Avatar: The Last Airbender, Book One: Air and Book Two: Spirits from The Legend of Korra and could expand to include Dark Horse Comic’s The Promise and The Search at any time.
We have opened up the COMMENTS on all posts on RepublicCityDispatch.com for your cross-dialogue needs!
“Just because they can airbend, doesn’t make them Air Nomads”. Pema counsels her flustered husband, in what seems to be the largest speaking moment for the Maria Bamford voiced character. The air benders wife hits the nail on the head of this season’s central point: the ability to do something does not automatically make you a part of that something. The new airbenders out of the Earth Kingdom were of the Earth culture first and no ability to blow wind severs that connection.
With this new found ability does come the possibility that they could become a part of something new and form a new Air Culture. They just need a connection to this new surrogate family they find themselves apart of; Tenzin just fosters it poorly. This is, on its face another Tenzin isn’t the best teacher episode but it shows why it is he isn’t the “best”. Culture is the shared traditions and customs by a group of people, the colloquial use of “Duder” GiantBomb for example. The problem is, the Air Nomad as a society has been extinct for 170 years locked away in books and Aang’s memories. With only a single unit as the keeper of its cultural flame and only two links into the chain, that connection is lessoning. Tenzin is not his father, he doesn’t have Aang’s memories of a vibrant populated Air temples. The only connection to it that he had was his Father’s lessons, the books, and fellow air acolytes (who are treated in this show more as background filler than participants). These few connections leave Tenzin with his cultures histories as his main link to this nebulous idea, making him more of a knowledgeable liberian than authority on interaction.
This lack of shared experience in a sense has turned Air Nomad culture into something resembling the Catholic Church. Aang and his family are the preachers and gateways to applicable Air Nomad knowledge. Tenzin reads to his flock from a good book - the history of some Air Bender 90+ day fast – with his pupils looking at him disinterested or as if he is speaking a different language. He just proselytizes in such a tone deaf manner. The character model for Tenzin isn’t the most articulated piece of the show but J.K. Simmons earnest line reading, evoke the image of a man just jumping around wondering “Can’t you see how cool this is?”, and everyone else looking at him like he is a crazy man.
Calling the new airbenders “recruits” really is the most appropriate term, and due to the arc from episodes 3-4 gives the word a dehumanizing weight. “This is just as bad as the Earth Queen’s prison” Kai bemoans after running the obstacle course. At the start I compared the new airbenders to Mutants in Marvel Comics but now with them all situated at the Northern Air Temple, they resemble Jedi. When will they get to go and visit their families? What is the return policy? I know this is Korra’s show but if there could be just a season spent on rebuilding the Air Nomads like this that’d be cool.
Dogmatic as “Original Airbenders” sounds writer Tim Hedrick and direct Mel Zwyer use this disconnect to lean into Tenzin as a comedic presence; turning the oft befuddled monk into a drill master after a pep talk from Bumi to great comedic effect. Waking his “recruits” early and pushing them to their breaking point so that they may be remade into true Air Nomads. “Original Airbenders” also features a couple just nifty sight gags, like Kai sliding into the rest of the group once his name is mentioned.
It’s interesting to see Kai outside of the watchful eye of Bolin, who was used more as a way to signal to the audience that this guy is good. Now constantly paired with Jinora their relationship is both adorable and with much potential for hubristic folly. With Kai prodding Jinora that she should have her air tattoos already, a not totally untrue statement but it just creates images of “The Deserter”. Even without Kai that idea that Jinora is ready for her airbender ink would’ve come up naturally anyway but now that there’s a boy involved o bother.
“Original Airbenders” feels like quintessential Avatar: The Last Airbender, “Bitter Work” (S02E09) in particular. Well structured with a mixture of natural and long developing conflicts that eventually lead to crisis, action, and in this case hints of the beginning of a new Air Nomad culture, and resolution. In particular the act 2 act break—after the reveal of the Bison Pocher clad in BISON PELT was executed wonderfully—,immediately conjuring within me wonder and belief. That this was the end of the episode and the possibility that Kai and JInora would get their own seasonal ‘C’ plot for the remainder of the Book. Book 3 in general besides the obvious parallel of it being more of a road show feels like the best parts of the previous series, aged up.